Movies Way Back When: A Wet and Soggy Experience

By Betsy J. Green


One of the reasons why filmmakers from the East came to California was the sunny weather. But every once in a while, it does rain in California. Remember? A group of “Flying A” actors and crew got rained out while filming the silent movie “The Zaca Lake Mystery” back in 1915.

“Camp was pitched on the lakeshore. They were all ready to start work when the rain started to pour in torrents, and the wind blew so hard that the ‘Flying A’ camp was entirely wiped out. Fortunately, none were hurt during the storm, but the company did not remain to work on the picture. About a month later, when things had quieted down in the Zaca Lake district, they returned and staged the drama.” – Billboard, July 10, 1915

Betsy’s Way Back When book — Movies & Million-Dollar Mansions — is now available in local bookstores and at This is the seventh book in her series on the history of Santa Barbara. Learn more at​.


Written by bjgreen

Betsy J. Green is a Santa Barbara historian and author. Her books are available in local bookstores, and at (Shop local if you can.) Learn more at

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